Ask any woman who cares about the upkeep of her tresses how hard it is to find a trustworthy hairdresser when in a new area and the deep sighs will be nearly identical. The same goes for men and their barbershops. Venturing outside of one’s staple barber requires equal parts faith and research, since finding new shops often depends on word of mouth and friends’ suggestions.
Enter Bevel, Walker & Company Brands’ flagship brand with the intention of helping people of color acquire better shaves through quality products and education. Today (Nov. 10), they are celebrating the nationwide launch of “Find Your Barber: Bevel’s Guide to the Best Barbershops.”
“We used to do a series called Inside the Shop, in which we would go and feature some of the most prominent barbers around the country. And we started to continue and search more and more, and it was really difficult to find barbers, when you’re doing it from afar,” explains Cassidy Blackwell, who leads Walker & Co.’s brand marketing. “Yelp doesn’t have barbershops that specifically focus on men of color. And there’s no easy repository or way of finding those shops, so one of the ideas we had was to build that ourselves.”
“Find Your Barber” already launched in New York, but today, the platform has officially expanded to Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia, The Bay Area and Washington, D.C., with eventual plans to explore international territories.
The complexities of “Find Your Barber” are really what makes the resource special. Not only does it give you a list of several shop options you have in a given area, but it gives you a in-depth run down of what to expect when you get there. There are hi-res images of the shops, interviews with the barbers in the shops, their hours, how long they’ve been in business, how many chairs are in the shop, whether they take appointments and if they’re cash only or take credit cards. “That helps the person figure out if the shop is for them,” Blackwell says. “Each editorial write up ends with a few lines that says, ‘This shop is for you if,’ and in those three lines, we’ve included a very distinct, concise description whether or not a shop is for you.” Whether the shops are quiet, one-chair operations or the stereotypical barbershops you imagine with board–playing, guys shouting, politics being talked, they jot all of that down to find the best fit for the reader.
And how exactly does Bevel make sure that the shops being listed are of quality? Yes, there are recommendations forms available, but the company makes sure to personally check out every possible shop.
“It’s more about the comprehensive services being offered at the barbershop, especially because Bevel is also focused on the problem of razor bumps,” Blackwell says. “When you see a barber taking great care of their client from start to finish including things like the use of a hot towel, straight razor shave, and/or shampooing the client, we are sure to call these services out and tie back to bigger trends we are seeing. But there exist those types of shops where you go and nobody is there to talk to you. The barber is on his cellphone the whole time. It’s unwelcoming and not as clean as you would like to see as sort of the sanitary standard. So we want to make sure that we are recommending places that upload that high quality of service. They’re not all about salon-esque experiences because some guys don’t want that and we recognize that. But more often than not, customers want a rewarding experience that includes the banter, the sports talk, that authentic feel, and we have the opportunity with this project to show the spectrum of services available so that people could make the decision that’s best for them.”
“We see this as another way to make health and beauty simple for people of color,” said Tristan Walker, Founder and CEO of Walker and Company Brands, the makers of Bevel. “We want to help people find the barber they need, so they can look and feel their best regardless of how and where they get their shaves.”
Bevel and their editorial site, Bevel Code, have become a trusted place for men of color to go to learn about the safest ways to shave and indulge in the many facets of barber shop culture. Even VIBE‘s Editor-in-Chief Datwon Thomas is in on the Bevel gem.
Head to the site now to explore the best barbers in your area or area-to-be.